A memorial set up in honor of the 13 U.S. service members that were killed in the ISIS-K terror attack last month at the Kabul Airport has been horridly vandalized, as reported by local authorities.
A group of thirteen American flags, each one representing one of the individuals killed in the attack, flying with a Marine Corps flag, had been on display along a freeway bridge in Riverside, California as a memorial. However, as reported by local police, the memorial itself had been found vandalized in the wake of the Labor Day holiday weekend.
In a post made on Facebook, Riverside Police stated on Tuesday that they were looking into the case of vandalism. Photos taken of the desecrated memorial seem to show that portions of the flags were burned, cut, torn, or otherwise destroyed.
“Recently after the deaths of our 13 United States Service Members killed in Afghanistan, 13 American Flags and 1 Marine Corp flag were placed on the fence to the Ivy Street overpass to the 91 Freeway in Riverside as a memorial. Sometime yesterday, an observant citizen noticed the flags appeared to be damaged and it was reported to the police,” stated Riverside police authorities.
They went on to add, “At this point, we don’t have any suspect description but it’s obvious the flags were intentionally damaged.”
Riverside Police also put out a statement that thanked the group “What is Going on in Riverside County” for alerting them to the case of vandalism. They went on to note that the intentionally damaged flags would be taken down and turned over to a local troop of boy scouts in order to be properly handled and appropriately retired from service.
As reported by KTLA, which is a local news outlet, three of the Marines that were being honored in the memorial, Kareem Nikoui, 20, Dylan Merola, 20, and Hunter Lopez, 22, all hailed from the southern California area. The other ten service members, who were also killed in the suicide bombing which happened in the last days of the U.S. departure from Afghanistan, all came from various other places around the country.
“I want to say it’s insane, it really is. I mean who would do that? I mean it represents something to all of us, but more importantly to the families of these thirteen,” stated Riverside Officer Ryan Railsback to KTLA concerning the vandalism done to the flags.
“It broke my heart, not only for me, but for their family, for their country that they died serving and protecting for us to have our freedom,” stated Steve Johnson, who was reportedly one of the ones who went and helped take down the desecrated flags.
KTLA went on to report that in just a little over a day since the memorial was defaced, a new set of flags was set out by the community.